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for the troops, who quite enjoyed their outing. But
their feet got soft during the journey from Egypt and
the hardening process is painful!
May 18. Have just been down the lane to see the
Company Sergeant-Major about the armourer in-
specting^rifles. I feel very paternal when I watch the
men sitting about outside their barn—gobbling stew
out of canteen-lids, scribbling letters, chattering and
smoking or lying asleep in the long grass under the
apple-trees, while blankets are spread out everywhere
to dry and old shirts and socks hung on currant
bushes after being washed. The two company cooks,
begrimed and busy with the "cooker"., and the
orderly sergeant making a list of something on a
packing-case. (The Quartermaster's stores are in our
Some of them look up as I pick my way among
them. I think they begin to realize that I am doing
my best for them.
I am now "censoring55 some of their letters, so I
will transcribe a few typical extracts.
1. "Well, lad, this is a top-hole country, some
difference to Palestine. It gives a chap a new inside
to see some fields and hedges again. Just like old
Blighty! , . . There is great talk of leave just now.
In fact a party goes tomorrow. Time-expired men
first. I'm a duration man. What hopes! Never mind,
2. "Well dear I dont sea any sighn of my leave
but if we dont get it soon it will be a grate dis-
apointment to us all for we all expected to get one
when we came to England."
3. "The weather has been lovely since I came here;
we are nowhere near the line yet. I've been going to
the doctor these last few days, sore feet, so all I do now